Shorinji Kempo History

Shorinji Kempo, as the most of martial arts, in spite of his relativity recent foundation in 1.947, has a really legendary origin related to Shaolin temple and also to indian martial arts, that in theory Buda practised. But with the real history are mixed with some histories very close to be legends. But these can not be separated from the reality.

Official cronicles speaks about the founder, Nakano Michiomi (called So Doshin later). He was born in Oyama, in 1.911, and when he was only a child, lose all his family, so he must to go to live under his grandfather So Shigeto, in Manchuria, he was a high-ranking post of a japanese railway company, working in China. He was an expert in Kendo, lance and Ju Jitsu. With his grandfather So Doshin start his first steps in martial arts.

In 1.928, after his grandfather died, he was assigned as spy agent to China, where he met Cheng Liang, a budist monk member of Zaijiali society, from who his learnt the art of "White Lotus" (Bailian Chuan). After several years studing with Chen Liang, in 1.932, he recomend So Doshin to the master Wen Taizong, from the Shaolin Yihe Men Quan, a boxer school who was very famous with the Boxer rebellion in 1.900. With this master, who maybe found in his boy a worthy heir of his art, the young So Doshin learnt the Wuhua Quan and Lo Han Quan styles, and the dragon grab methods (Longxing Zhuji).

In 1.936, So Doshin visited the Shaolin Temple and he felt fascinating for this martial arts and budism monument.

At the end of World War II So Doshin return to Japan.

Already in his country, he found turmoil in his homeland, a similar chaos as he experienced firsthand in notheastern China post-war.Knowing that change comes only through action, he set himself to task of helping to reconstruct japan by gathering and instructing motivated young men amd women to become part of the backbone of the country. He thought that the philosophy from original budism can help this young people, but the hesitated that anybody was interested in hear speeches or theory lessons.

As So told, a dream with Bodhidharma inspired him to train the spirit through a martial discipline, as the Shaolin monks did.

So Doshin, that till this moment did not think to teach his knowledges in martial arts, matured, puted in order and clasified all the thecnics that he learnt from his chinese masters, founded a martial art with the main objective of the full developing of the persons who practice it. So Doshin decided to named his style as Shorinji Kempo, as a tributed to the legendary Shaolin Temple (Shaolin=Shorin) who impresed him.

Then he built a 6 Jô dôjo, equivalent to 12 m2, on the back of his home. Actualy, in the organization side, the Shorinji Kempo is formed around the World Shorinji Kempo Organization (WSKO), who has a lot of National Federations in 28 countries. More than one million and a half kenshis around the world. It is specially popular in Japan, where Shorinji Kempo is the martial art more practised in public schools, after Judo, Kendo and Sumo. It is also very popular in Indonesia

(From the book: Shorinji Kempo, El Legado de los monjes guerreros de Shaolin. ROGELIO CASERO ABELLAN. Ed. Alas. Barcelona 1997)